Mesa to Pitt 2015

Mesa to Pitt 2015
Mesa to OBX

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Deming NM to Silver City NM April 9

52 miles in 6:28. After yesterday's dust storms (to the north especially), I was really concerned about the next leg of the trip. That dust covered everything, and worked its way into places it shouldn't have, due to the sustained 30-40 mph winds. I woke up at daybreak ( about 7 A .M) because I didn't hear any wind ( after a wild and rockin night of wind). I noticed that it had also rained last night ( a very rare occurrence). The lack of wind, (even though there was a wind alert,) and the lack of dust, due to the rain, told me it was time to make a break for Silver City. We had talked about staying here in Deming for a few days to ride these alerts out, but the door was open. I got out the door and on the road by eight, ignoring temps in the low 40's, and morning traffic in Deming, which is not exactly New York City, but....I rode in peace for about an hour, before the wind started blowing like a hurricane. I was headed NNW, and the wind was rocking out of the west. So it had a headwind effect, even though it was blowing into my left ear. The sun would come and go, but the temps wouldn't go up, so I rode in the mid forties with a nice wind chill factor. The warning signs along the road warned of zero visibility because of the dust, but dust was absolutely not a problem because of a light layer of wetness holding it down. Tumbleweeds were another matter. I really looked forward to experiencing tumbleweed, but there was so much built up along the fences that lined the road on both sides, that very little actually made it onto the road. Speaking of the road, US 180, which I took the whole way today, was wonderful, nice new surface, and eight foot shoulders that were also nice. I'm so happy to be out of Texas, with their chip seal.
Up in the distance, the clouds were not white, or grey, the colors you'd expect. They were dirty brown, just like the dust that had been blowing for 24 hours. They looked like everything else in this area right now, dirty brown. The landscape was very uninspiring, mud and brown desert scrub . I did see a longhorn cow up very close, as he was grazing along the road, but he spooked before I could get a picture. About 25 miles out of town I came to an unexpected rest area, with sheltered picnic sights, and a new clean restroom, with music piped into it. I cleaned the tumbleweed out of one of the picnic shelters, and took a fifteen minute break, sheltered from the wind, trying to warm my toes and fingers. It was only at that point that I decided that I was going to make the whole 50-some miles. Early in the ride I thought I had made a mistake by trying to battle the wind, and I considered telling Pam to come and get me. That, however, would have been like admitting defeat, and my mistake. I am not very good at that, so I put the helmet on my hard head, and fought on, which was still preferable to watching daytime TV in the RV, waiting for Mother Nature to let up. I knew going into this trip that there would be days like this, so I decided to embrace the experience.
Deming, my starting point, had an elevation of 4300 ft, and Silver City has a elevation of over 6000 ft. That is a 1700 foot climb, once again, just very gradual with no steep climbs. I did hit some serious rolling hills as I approached Silver City, just as my legs were turning to hamburger. Pam texted me and told me that it was snowing as she set up at the Silver City KOA, then she got in the jeep and came to give me more clothing, hats, etc, just about when the freezing rain hit me, about five miles from the KOA.
I stopped and read some historical plaques as I got near the end of the trip, and found out that we are in Geronimo's stomping ground, and also Billy the Kid was raised here. Billy was born in Wheeling WV, just like me, so I'm not the first Wheeling guy to matriculated here. Copper and other minerals spur the economy here, even though there was plenty of silver and gold back in the day.
When I got to the KOA, I took the longest hot shower I can remember, and the spent about an hour talking to Jackie, the owner here, who is an avid bicyclist. She was immensely helpful, giving me two routes to Flagstaff, through some serious mountain passes, and pointing out highlights, as well as places that we can camp. The RV won't fit into a lot of places along the way. Hell, it barely fit into the KOA. She also gave us side trips that we should do while we are here, even some jeep trails to some 8000-9000 foot mountain peaks in the area. The weather is not supposed to relent for a couple of days, so we are going to check some things out while we are here, get rid of the wind and thirty degree mornings, and move on later in the week. The area we are headed for is prone to some snow events in April, so we are going to play this by ear, and enjoy the history of the area, and the scenery. More on that tomorrow.

Makes you glad you are riding on this road in a wind storm!

Going up!
Yup, it's an ELK crossing sign.

Picture from the RV window, looking at Mike's bike all covered up with snow/ice balls on it.

This is the ice build up on our window sill.  Seriously!  We stayed warm all winter and now that it's April, we get snow!  That's just wrong.

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